While Cruising at 70 mph…

Last week, I received a series Twitter post (aka tweets) from Brian Schnack (@theschnack – his Twitter ID) who shared the following, “Watching @Netflix on iPad over a hotspot on DROID X in back of car at 70mph http://twitpic.com/25kpzn.”

I was sitting in my office eating M&M’s and almost sprayed the room with candy shell fragments laughing at the picture and thinking about the situation.

The next few minutes, Brian and I engaged in rapid fire shots in 140 characters while he was cruising at 70 mph and I was uber-connected discussing Life and Technology. I walked away thinking about the Fast & Furious exchange and realized there’s some leadership tidbits, so here goes.

Lifeit’s generational and if you’re not connected you’re not out of date, you’re just not informed. Here’s an example. Over the weekend, my oldest son called to update my wife on his purchase of his first home. As soon as the call was over, my wife said to my teenage son, “your brother’s buying a house.” My son said; “Yeah, I know. I read about it on Facebook a few days ago. That’s old news. I saw the pictures and it looks pretty cool! It has a pool!” Little did she know that I knew too.

Like it or not, we all communicate differently. But it’s more generational than you think. Leaders need to consider who works on the team, their communications style, habits and what is important to communicate. It’s a leaders role to create cadence and communications is no different. Have you discussed this topic with your team?

Technology – If the majority of the product management team or company is using IM, texting and collaborating online, and you’re expecting email and voice mail from them, you have an issue. Brian shared, “I’ve trained folks that I ignore vm (voice mail) and live by SMS, DM (um that’s Direct Messages for the non-Twitter crowd), SHORT email…or (!) face to face!

As a leader, do you know what tools and technologies are best for product management collaboration? Personally, I know if I want my college age son to connect with me, I don’t call and leave him a voice mail or send an email. Instead I send an SMS, “Call me, I pay your tuition – Dad.

I can set a stop watch by his return SMS or call. My wife doesn’t understand how I get such as quick response. However, I know what technology he’s adopted, I know the language he speaks (3000+ text a month) and the credit hours he carries each semester. I also pay his tuition. We understand each others needs.

So, what’s the net?. If you want to improve communications and collaboration as a product management leader, you have to listen and stay connected with what your team is using and doing.

If you’re resisting change, or want your team to adopt methods and technologies you use, it may be a quiet riot, so think again. You need to get on board, buckle up, hold on and sign in with your team.

And Brian, where ever you pick up this post, thanks again.

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  • Brian Schnack  On July 20, 2010 at 2:07 am

    Cheers from @theschnack from a cab coming back to the hotel from Mimmo’s in Baltimore’s Little Italy.

    Very apt post, one about embracing the serendipity of change.

    (But my twitter id is @theschnack)

  • Tondin Banks  On July 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Great post! It is my humble opinion the biggest problem in most companies is communication. There are so many great ideas lost from “top down” and “bottom up” simply because of communication gaps.

  • Josh Duncan  On July 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm


    I really like your quote, “Life – it’s generational and if you’re not connected you’re not out of date, you’re just not informed”.

    Every company I have worked at has had a different style of communication. Some have been heavy on conference calls and email while others have been big on WIKIs and IMs.

    Being able to adapt to the environment and team has always worked better for me that trying to get everyone else to change.

    Thanks for the post!


    • Product Management Tribe  On July 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      Josh – Thanks. I been thinking about this for some time. With three adult age children (all MillenGen) and a teenager left at home, I realize they all speak the same languages, but have tools of preference depending on social, personal and business preferences. I believe leaders have to adopt the same strategy and find a complement to their teams strengths, challenges and where they are headed.


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